We will be playing against a confident team: Buttler
Just after 3.45 pm on Sunday afternoon, England entered the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur for the first time on their tour of Bangladesh. The convoy was long, but the security personnel's movement had been well rehearsed and spot-on. It had taken them less than 20 minutes to reach the ground from their hotel, driving mostly on roads emptied for what is locally called "VIP movement".
There wasn't too much fuss after their arrival as they smoothly went about their business at the National Cricket Academy ground, a plush facility that has several practice pitches and a rectangular outfield. England began their warm-up while their stand-in captain Jos Buttler went to his first press conference on tour.
As the nets were being drawn up and the batsmen got padded up, assistant coach Paul Farbrace sized up the net bowlers, who nearly outnumbered the England entourage. Buttler said this is exactly what he and the team had been looking forward to - the cricket.
"Security is paramount when traveling to the subcontinent but we are always looked after well," Buttler said. "Obviously there is a lot of security but that's part and parcel of making the tour okay. Thankfully, now we are here. We will start practicing today and start thinking about cricket. I think those things will go back into the background. It will be a very competitive series.
"I think today we start training and start gearing up for the matches. Bangladesh have been playing well in their own conditions. We need to be prepared. All we want to do is play cricket. Once we start, it will be very refreshing to start talking about the cricket side of things."
This is Buttler's fourth tour to Bangladesh, having come here earlier with the England Under-19 in 2009, England Lions in 2012 and the senior team during the 2014 World T20. He said that the challenge would be for the batsmen to survive the tricky early period of every innings which would reveal the nature of the pitch. He added, though, that while adjusting to conditions they would not lose their attacking team persona.
"It would be a good challenge for the guys," Buttler said. "We had a series in Dubai last winter on those pitches in which we played well. We have to learn to adapt and win in all conditions. We still want to be aggressive and bat as fast as we can, but conditions will dictate.
"From previous experience, I think it takes 10 or 15 balls. If you can get through that period, then you start to get used to the pace of the pitch and the timing. Rotation of the strike, and boundaries may be tougher to come by. We will play our brand of cricket but we will adjust it to conditions."
Buttler said that playing against Bangladesh would be a major challenge, given how confident they are playing at home. They have now won six ODI series in a row at home since November 2014, and have developed several match-winners along the way.
"We will be playing against a confident team in their own conditions. If you look at the makeup of the Bangladesh side, their spinners have been doing well. We will be ready to get used to the conditions. We are focused on ourselves and what we need to prepare. We are a young athletic team and I will want us to play in the same way."
(Dhaka times/2 October/SUL)